Dear Heloise: There are any number of gift-giving occasions and people in nursing homes or assisted living enjoy receiving a gift, even a small thoughtful one. However, all too often the senior citizen in a nursing home will be given something completely useless, such as dusting powder, or some silly knickknack.

 Look around their room. A nice robe or slippers will get more use. Treat them to lunch or dinner, or a movie. Most of the elderly would love a day out to do shopping, have lunch and see a film when we are over the COVID mess. Take pictures for them to remember the day.

The elderly are less interested in “things” and more interested in being remembered, being spoken to as an adult and being taken someplace new or interesting. Showing that you care is the best gift of all.

—Alana T., Coral Springs, Florida

Where to write: Got a hint you want to share? Send your tips and tricks to: Heloise, P.O. Box 795001, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000. Send a fax to 1-210-HELOISE, or email